Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Sleepover

As a kid I would have sleepovers and went to sleepovers. You know what they are. It is when all the parents dump all the kids in one place for the night. Of course they are separated by gender. Then the parents who sponsor this occasion must feed, clothe, and provide entertainment and protection to the overzealous kids who feed off of each other’s energy until they drop from exhaustion. Most of my sleepovers were just one kid would stay the night at my house or I would stay the night at another’s house. We would eat popcorn and watch television then fall asleep in our jammies. It was like being in another family for the night. Don’t know what the girls did, but the guys would play soldiers or pirates or wrestle until we got old enough for physical changes to happen.
Then there was the big sleepover. Camp. Camp was made for a bunch of boys to be dumped by their parents to a far away place for week. We would sleep in drafty cabins on wooden bunks, wear the same cloths, sweat in the heat and play in the dirt. A bunch of teenagers were in charge of us, but like prison, we had no place to go or any method to get there. After a month or so, our parents would arrive to drag us back to school.
Then again, there was the sleepover of ’66. A hearty band of high school students gathered at a friend’s house for an impromptu party when it started to snow. His mom was nice enough to call all the other’s mothers and fathers to ask permission to store the kids for the night rather than send them out into the weather. All of the boys and girls were excited at the possibilities but a few did not get permission and had to leave. We gallant lads escorted each and every one of them back to their homes safely then waded back through the thickening white stuff to the gathering. With warm drinks and sleeping bags we dried off. The girls retired to the upstairs while the boys attended a story telling session by my friend’s father. Once or twice the girls would try to slip downstairs but were always caught. The next morning we celebrated our short sleep with a hearty breakfast and a few sly looks of what could have been before trudging out into the snow with our memories.
Today the sleepover is much more complicated. It may be caused with bad weather or the late hour or possibility of too many adult beverages. A sleepover can be the results of a random meeting leading into an invitation inside another’s home.
Whether it is a physical adventure or a parental comforting, the morning will come with the thought, “Now What?”
Some years ago I used to walk to work. A friend of mine who lived a block away would walk with me. One morning I went to his apartment to see if he was ready. Upon opening the door I noticed he was not alone. A girl I knew from work was coming out of the bedroom. She acknowledged me, kissed him and left. It was a quiet walk downtown because I didn’t know what to say.
Sleepovers are like that. Maybe the next morning you share a shower or have a breakfast but it has to end. So what is to be said? “Thanks, that was fun.” Or “Let’s do this again sometime.” Or “Do you want me to call you?”
Some sleepovers turn into something else while some are just notches on the bedpost. Mine turned into a twenty-five year marriage.

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